17 January 2008 | threenorns-1
first off, i'm white - straight up Wonder Bread. my experience with Hindi films and bollywood started on march 17th, 2006 when i met my husband - he's Hindu (... well, duh, lol).
up to now, my opinion of bollywood in general has been pretty much a couple of gems in a huge pile of... well, "not gems", particularly when dealing with the old films. not much by way of dancing technique, even (sorry, don't shoot me, just my white bread opinion) the vaunted hema malini, to me, does little more than jump around shaking her anatomy and flapping her arms about. a lot of the classic songs, i can't tell one from the next because they're all sung by lata mangeshkar. while she is a fantastic singer, i really wish songwriters would have taken the opportunity to showcase her voice instead of just having her do the same 6-note riff over and over. like i said, it's only imo.
what a fantastically terrific exception is Bhool Bhulaiyaa! it's got all the best parts of the old Indian classic movies: lavish, luxurious sets and costumes; huge crowds that pop up out of nowhere for various odd and assorted reasons; extraneous music numbers (no particular reason why, but we'll both just jump on a bicycle that popped up out of nowhere and weave madly through the countryside singing); great dance numbers featuring crowds of ppl that were nowhere to be seen before and probably won't be seen in the rest of the film.
special mention: the dance scene at the court of the evil king - i can't tell you how many times i've watched that just so i could wallow in the purity of line and the sheer crispness and clarity of expression. that duo is surely a world-class dancing pair because they are SO precise and they positively reek of expertise. the term "dancing gods" keeps coming to mind.
on the other hand, while it has all the wonderful OTT-ness of a classic bollywood film of the 50s and 60s, the music has been updated - the lyrics are typically incomprehensible romantic weirdness ("i am yours, only yours, you weave through my breath" - i mean, hunh!?) but the music is modern and fresh. the characters are also a wonderful blend of high camp, high drama, and modern minimalism. i really enjoyed the scene that's reminiscent of a joke featuring a guy talking on his cell phone while a girl behind him keeps answering back thinking he's talking to her. oh - except in BB, the guy's not wearing anything and the girl is in the shower stall while he's outside.
what i really like is that the movie doesn't actually EXPLAIN anything. oh, explanations are given on all sides but what's really fantastic is how it doesn't slight the old ways and put Modern Science up on a pedestal, nor does it reject the new ways in favour of ancient tradition. you make your own determination as to the truth - no matter which way you see it, it will be correct.
thriller, psychological drama, romantic thriller, horror, comedy, comic tragedy, chick flick, action film - no matter what your buzz, you'll find it in Bhool Bhulaiyaa!